Cupra is undergoing a pretty big shift for the second time, from being Seat’s performance division to its own separate marque to now becoming Volkswagen Group’s first fully electric marque.
Cupra celebrated its third birthday this year with the announcement of its first production BEV, the Cupra Born, and with news of its shift to full electrification. The Born debuted as the El-Born and is built off Volkswagen’s MEB platform, so it’s kind of like an angry ID.3. To honor its performance roots, it even sports a go-fast button.
You can see Cupra’s BEV in the video below:
The Spanish carmaker made a big deal of the news, inviting government officials to Seat headquarters, as outlined by its announcement. The assembly line that will shift to making all-electric cars was the highlight of the program, though which models will be produced on this line is not yet known.
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Herbert Diess, the CEO of VAG, made clear his company’s vision for Cupra and what it means for Spain to become the home-country of an all-electric carmaker:
CUPRA will become THE youthful and fully electric car brand – worldwide active, born in Spain. The first full electric Model CUPRA Born will be launched later this year. The small BEV made a good first impression - highly emotional and more CUPRA than anything before!
Spain has great potential to become an e-mobility hub in Europe[...]
Our plans are bold: Conversion of Martorell into a fully electric Car plant. Local Cell Production in Spain, Build up of Infrastructure for fast Charging and green energy,...
The European Union wants to rely less on China for its EVs, according to a report from Automotive News, and this announcement aligns with that goal. Spain could become a center for EV production within the EU, but it’s not going to happen in the near future.
Cupra’s Martorell production plant in Catalonia, Spain, will still push out the ICE and hybrid cars that rounded out its model lineup in the short time Cupra has existed as its own brand.
Three years is not long time for a brand to undergo such a transformation, but Cupra isn’t exactly new, given its status as Seat’s motorsport division. So it’s got a built-in fanbase while getting a clean slate for the EV transition, which will kick off with the appropriately named Cupra Born. It’s probably for the best that the “El-” prefix was dropped.